2022 Restaurant Tech Predictions
During the last several years, the restaurant and foodservice industries have had to find a way to overcome numerous hurdles. Although restaurants are traditionally slow to adopt new technological advancements, we’ve seen that trend change. Digital solutions for old and new problems are more reliable and affordable than ever, and we can expect to see existing technology become more commonplace. In this article, we will outline our 2022 tech predictions for the restaurant and foodservice industry.
1. Online reservation and booking
Although online reservations aren’t exactly new, we can see that numerous businesses are attempting to improve the customer experience on that front. The pandemic has forced restaurants to rethink how they approach admitting customers into their premises. Even venues that previously didn’t have a reservation system in place were forced to implement one rather quickly. We expect to see this trend continue, and restaurants will have fewer walk-ins since most of their business will be done via reservations. Therefore, it’s natural to look for new developments in how reservations are placed and handled.
Besides having the ability to place a reservation, restaurants and other service providers are implementing software that gives their customers more options for online booking. Restaurants are already offering 3D virtual tours with a choice of seating. Of course, it’s still advisable to provide good support over the phone if your customers need help from one of your employees, as well as monitor those calls for future improvements. However, advancements are also present there in the form of AI chatbots that can offer assistance to your online customers.
2. Digital Menus
When most people think of a menu, they imagine a physical booklet they can flip through to find the meal they are interested in. Unfortunately, certain online menus haven’t made full use of the digital medium they reside in – and some restaurants just have a static .pdf page as their menu. In our list of 2022 tech predictions, we expect businesses to start implementing menus that can adapt to the needs of their users.
To stay ahead of the competition, you should already approach designing your future menu as a digital database with searchable tags. This will allow users to filter meals by ingredients or calories. Regular customers can have their personal profiles with their favorite meals. You can even go a step further and send them alerts when their favorite seasonal dishes are back on the menu.
3. Connect to the Customers
Most businesses in the service industry rely on the purchases of regular customers for a large volume of their sales. Software for managing customer relations already exists and is used by many companies in various branches of the industry. Ecommerce online stores have developed CRM into an art form, and restaurants have started to follow suit. Unfortunately, loyalty programs can only go so far, and they traditionally depend on rewarding customers for returning to your restaurant. Although that is a proven strategy that can boost sales, the decision is still left up to the customer. This means that the restaurant can do very little other than offer loyalty rewards.
Having a constant line of communication between you and your customers has proven to be the most reliable way to ensure that your restaurant is their go-to choice for dining. This doesn’t mean that you should just ask visitors for their emails and bombard them with advertising. Restaurants will need to implement digital solutions similar to those used by eCommerce stores to contact their customers with specialized offers. Firstly you’ll need to develop a strategy that will get users excited to follow the latest menu changes. You can appeal to users with exclusive offers and seasonal food that will only be available for a limited time. Additionally, you can examine their previous dining habits and offer them specialized deals that cater to their taste.
4. Flexible order pickups
Some restaurants never thought they’d need to invest in the drive-through and pick-up options. However, due to social distancing rules, they were forced to find a way to cope with the new situation. Thankfully, relying on third-party services and software solutions was a lifesaver, especially for small businesses. Obviously, even in those cases, there was plenty of room for improvement.
Curbside pick-ups became commonplace, and that trend isn’t going away anytime soon. For both delivery services as well as individuals who wish to personally pick up their order, timeliness was a significant issue. People sometimes just run late, and when it comes to something like food, even half an hour could make a huge difference.
Restaurants needed to find a way to solve problems of food getting cold, or drinks and desserts not being refrigerated long enough before a pick-up that ran late. The software can allow users to communicate with restaurant staff regarding the exact time of their order pick-up. This approach will ensure that the food is kept warm until the precise moment of pick-up. Users will expect excellent on-time service, and restaurants will need to look to software solutions to meet those demands.
5. Robots and automated assistants
Automated labor took a long time to catch on with restaurants. However, amid labor shortages sweeping the country, we can assuredly claim that for 2022 tech predictions – robots will soon become a large part of the restaurant workforce. Chefs will still run the kitchen and oversee how everything functions, but an increasing number of tasks can be left to robotic assistants. Activities like chopping ingredients, deep-frying, and grilling have already been automated in large restaurant chains. New tech advancements and dropping prices for implementation will push this trend forward. Although a fully automated restaurant is still a thing of the future, we are slowly inching closer to it every year.
For restaurants, bars, and other small businesses in the foodservice industry – solutions for most of the current problems are already here. Our 2022 tech predictions only go to show how necessary the implementation of digital solutions is for restaurants if they plan to stay relevant and offer their clients a stellar dining experience.
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About the Author
Harold Lind is an Outreach Marketing Specialist for Convert More. Harold loves finding ways of adopting new technology in order to boost the efficiency of any process. His work in marketing allows him to constantly meet new and amazing people. Harold is a foodie with a particularly developed sweet tooth.